The Q&A Archives: Shallott Seeds

Question: Some of my shallots turned to seed last year, I dried them then kept them in the fridg for 3 or 4 weeks. I have been trying to germinate on wet paper towels in a plastic bag for 2 weeks. How long will it take, or will they never sprout?

Answer: Shallots are usually started from sets rather than seeds in part to ensure a yield of reliably good shallots, so I'm not sure you will like the results of your seeds if they do grow. But for the sake of the experiment, the timing is very related to temperature. The seeds will germinate fastest at about 60 to 80 degrees, usually in just a few days, but at about 40 degrees it could take a month.

Whether or not the seeds are viable depends on any number of factors, ranging from being picked when fully mature, being stored dry, airtight and at an even temperature such as in the refrigerator, and finally being moistened correctly now. For instance, if they started to germinate and were allowed to dry out they will be dead. On the other extreme, they may have rotted if kept too wet. One good indication is to check for swelling. If the seeds seem to have swelled they are probably going to sprout. Good luck with your seeds!

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